Monthly Archives: January 2016

Why Buy The Cow When You Can Get The Milk For Free? 

free-vs-paidWordPress is a free and open source platform. And there are thousands of free plugins available to extend and enhance its functionality.  So with so many free plugins available, why would you ever pay for a paid plugin?

This will vary from site to site.  There are times when free plugins do just great and fit your needs perfectly… and there are AMAZING free plugins out there.   But there are also some amazing paid plugins that perform just as well if not better.

The important thing is to evaluate your needs.  How important is this plugin to your site?  If the functionality it provides stopped working or went away tomorrow, would it be a big deal?   If the answer is yes, then a paid plugin may give you a bit more security.

Just because a plugin is paid, doesn’t by default make it any more worthy than a free plugin, but it does mean the developer has some skin in the game by way of a revenue stream to not only keep the plugin working for as many users as possible, but also continue improving and developing the plugin.

Another important point to remember… free isn’t always free.   There’s always a cost.  If the plugin you’re using is not well documented, or troublesome to configure, or you’re having an issue that’s costing you downtime while you wait for support, just because you don’t see it on your credit card statement as a dollar amount, doesn’t mean there’s not a cost to that.

For tips on how to evaluate and select plugins, see my past blog titled “So many plugins… so little time!”

>> Joshua Pettit is Lead Developer and Project Manager at Sunrise Marketing.  http://www.sunrise-marketing.com/

 

Choosing a Plugin

thumb-pluginWith over 45,000 WordPress plugins in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory, which ones are the best?

Some WordPress plugins are great, while other may not work right and bring your site to it’s knees.   It’s important to pay attention to some key details about a plugin when determining if it’s right for you.

The first place to start is the Plugin directory at WordPress.org.   When you view a plugin there, there is a plethora of information available to help you in your quest fir the perfect plugin.

First, look at the number of active installs.  If the plugin only has 200 active installs, then it’s not very widely used.  But if it’s got thousands (or even millions) of active installs, then you know it must work properly.

Next, check out when was the last update.  Was it hours ago? Days ago, or has it not been updated in years.  Plugins that have “lost the love” from their developer may cause issues, or create security risks for your website.

Next, look at the star ratings.  Pay attention to not only what the ratings are, but how many are there?  If there’s only a handful of rankings, the plugin may be new, and the developer may have gotten his buddies to give him 5 star ratings. But if there are hundreds or thousands of rankings, that’s harder for a developer to fake.

Lastly… do they provide support?  The WordPress plugin directory will also show you what the average number of solved support requests is for the plugin.  Also click on the support tab and read some of the issues, and view the replies.  Is the developer answering? Or is the page full of people saying they are having the same issue with no response from anyone who can help.

>> Joshua Pettit is Lead Developer and Project Manager at Sunrise Marketing.  http://www.sunrise-marketing.com/

What is WordPress?

WP-logoMany people who are seeking to create a website ask me what I recommend.  Almost always, my recommendation is WordPress.    WordPress started out as an open source blog software in 2003, however it has matured into a complete content management system.     What’s a content management system? Quite simply, if the pages on your website are the content, it’s a system that allows you to easily manage, edit, create and delete pages.

Many websites are powered by WordPress… even if they aren’t a blog.   In fact, it’s estimated that 1 in 4 new websites are powered by WordPress.  Over 75 million websites depend on WordPress.   WordPress can power almost any site!

Why does the popularity of WordPress matter to you?  It means it’s a highly supported system.   There is a plethora of information out there about WordPress.  There are over 15,000 themes for WordPress, so the look and feel of your site can be customized infinitely.  There are over 42,000 plugins for WordPress which expand and customize the functionality.

What’s the price tag for this amazing piece of incredibly popular software?  Zip, zilch, nada!  WordPress is totally free.   It’s what they call “open source” software, which means it’s built by hundreds of community volunteers.

Why should I use WordPress?   There are so many reasons, but probably the biggest reason is the ease of use.  It’s very user friendly and has an intuitive user interface.  Adding and editing pages, uploading photos and more can all be done without having to deal with all the dreaded acronyms like FTP, SSH, HTML, CSS, PHP or MySQL.    You can control everything from any web browser with simple point and click interactions.

WordPress can also grow as your business grows.  It’s extremely scalable and can support thousands of pages (or blog posts), and best of all, search engines LOVE WordPress sites.   WordPress is written in a way to make it very friendly from search engines to be able to visit, and index your site… which is what most site owners want.

To get started using WordPress, you can download it for free at www.WordPress.org or if you prefer a little more hand-holding, signup for a WordPress Plan here: http://superwebhost.com/wp-hosting/

>> Joshua Pettit is Lead Developer and Project Manager at Sunrise Marketing.  http://www.sunrise-marketing.com/

Do You Blog? Why Every Business Owner Should

BloggingBlogging is to writing what extreme sports are to athletics: more free-form, more accident prone, less formal, more alive. It is, in many ways, writing out loud.” – Andrew Sullivan

People blog for a million and one reasons. From recipes to crafts to kayaking adventures, everyone has found a series of stories they want to tell via a type-written medium. Blogs give everyone a stage (or soapbox) to write anything from anywhere and have it published for the world to read. It allows us to explore our world, go in-depth in our area of expertise, expand our writing boundaries and connect with people near and far.

It doesn’t even have to be a “live” blog or one that is publicly shared, but I believe everyone should have at least one blog, particularly business owners, and here are the reasons why:

Be Curious
Have fun, share your sense of wonder and be curious about the world around you. Once you start writing a blog, whether it is about chocolate, the beer brewing process or how to revamp antique furniture, you will search the world around you for content. You will develop a deeper curiosity, ask a bunch of questions and stretch beyond what is right in front of you. You will find a deeper sense of engagement in the everyday activities of your office and your area of business.

Be Creative
Whether you think that you can, or that you canít, you are usually right.” – Henry Ford

If you believe yourself to be creative, you will act, think and behave creatively. You will search for new ways to express yourself and further your communication with the world and your employees. Let your imagination wonder. Branch out of the usual.

Share Your Moments
We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the fast pace of life and overlook the little details that make up life. Blogging about the special moments we share with friends, a customer service story or even a co-workers birthday bash helps us connect with those who matter most about events that matter most. It establishes a connection or sharing highway with people in our inner circle and beyond.

Express Yourself
We all yearn to create things and moments that make our feelings tangible. We want to convey more than what spoken words alone can say.” – Sandra Magsamen

Each of us wants to connect with the world around us. People want the story behind the brand or the logo. We are social creatures looking for a deeper connection with the products we buy and the people we buy from. Show your human side. Show your humor, your perspective and your life. Your customers will thank you for it.

I know what you are wondering to yourself, “But who will read it?” Write about what you find interesting and you will be surprised at who will be interested. There are tons of people who collect stamps, love thrift stores or want to learn more about the seafood restaurant business. If you write it, they will come.

Or perhaps you are thinking, “What do I write about?” The answer to that is what are you passionate about? What is your area of expertise or interest? If you had one thing to share with a group of friends about what makes you tick, what would it be? There’s your blog my friend.

So, what’s your passion? What viewpoint could you offer the world? From life on a wheat farm to a blog about inspiration, the world will benefit from your thoughts, views and stories. Engage your inner storyteller. Share with the world.

Start blogging!

SuperWebHost Has Big Plans for ’16

2016 Calender on the red cubes

With every new year, we here at SuperWebHost, make New Year’s resolutions just as you might make at home.     If you were to sum up our 2016 resolutions in two words it would be ‘positive momentum’.

Last year we launched our new cloud-based shared hosting service, and this year we will complete the roll out of that service.   By the end of the first quarter all of our customers should be migrated to our cloud servers.   These new cloud servers offer increased performance, security and reliability.

At the end of ’15 we also launched our new website, albeit not 100% complete, but by the end of the first quarter of this year the website will be finished.   The new website includes this very blog you are reading with a number of different contributors.  Our goal is to do more then just keep you updated about happenings here at SWH but also with some tips and tricks for your cPanel control panel, for WordPress, SEO and small business tactics and ideas.

I could go on and on about our plans for 2016 but I know your time is precious and I want to keep this short.    So the last thing I want to mention is that we will be rolling out a number of new services this year.   We know how important your IT needs and the digital side of your business is, but we are also keenly aware of the ever increasing amount of time it takes to manage those needs.  As a small business you might not have the resources and time needed to juggle all of those pieces, and that is where we want to be an integral part of your business.   We want to be the solution to some of those problems and free your time up so you can get back to running and growing your business and doing the things you should be doing.

So please subscribe to the blog’s rss feed or check back regularly for updates.